Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Using the Pattern Technology of Christopher Alexander to Realize Ted Trainer's Vision of a Market in Balance With the Human Scale

My comment on the PRI-article on Ted Trainer:
My second concern is a more technical one, arising out of critical legal theory. In the passages quoted above, Trainer refers regularly to ‘the market’ or ‘the market system’ as if these were concepts with clear and unambiguous meanings. ‘The market is about maximising,’ he tells us, and when he writes that growth and ‘the market’ are incompatible, the implication is that ‘the market’ has one and only one meaning. But as I have argued at length elsewhere (Alexander, 2011c: Ch. 2) and implied above, there is no such thing as the market, if that is meant to imply a determinate structure that all market societies share. Given that ‘the market’ is an indeterminate concept, there are actually infinite varieties of market systems, each of which augment or diminish human freedom to varying degrees. Markets driven by profit-maximisation are but one variety, albeit the dominant form today. The question, therefore, is not a black and white one of ‘free markets’ versus forms of ‘regulation.’ Rather, the question is a normative one about how a society chooses to structure power relations in bargaining, and such a structure can take any number of forms, each of which could fall under the rubric of ‘the free market,’ depending on how the essentially contested idea of ‘freedom’ is defined. After all, it could be argued that a genuinely free market would require considerable social control and look nothing like market systems today. - Ted Trainer
Very well said! A really free market is balanced with the human scale. The social control can best be achieved by using the pattern technology of Christopher Alexander:
Comment by Øyvind Holmstad — June 6, 2012 @ 4:18 pm

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